ISAIAH 61:1 – The Opening of the Prison

ISAIAH 61, 1

Dear friends,

We are not writing this post in our own wisdom, nor in the wisdom of man, but rather we trust in that pure wisdom of which our Heavenly Father, YAHWEH, alone, is the author.

For as the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18,

“The preaching of the cross is unto them that are perishing, foolishness; but unto us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 

I am sure that each one of us would be willing to be counted amongst the foolish if the preaching of the cross be foolishness.

Our Lord tells us through the prophet that the wisdom of man shall not stand.

“The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall fail, because they have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in then?” (Isaiah 29:14)

We invite your attention more particularly to the words of the Lord as recorded in Isaiah 61:1,

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the glad tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”

Are these words literal?

The words “the opening of the prison to them that are bound suggest to our minds at least 4 main thoughts:-

(1) A prison – a place or condition of bondage or confinement.

(2) Prisoners – those in such a condition of bondage or confinement.

(3) A prison keeper, or warden, or captor, one who has the immediate or present control of the prison house.

(4) A great deliverer who is here described as proclaiming liberty to the captives and opening the prison to them that are bound.

PRISON

We understand this to refer to the great prison house of death.

In Ezekiel 16:53 we read – “When I will bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters. Then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them.”

We know that the captivity referred to in this case is the great captivity of death, for Sodom had long lain in ashes when these words were spoken and it could not therefore refer to any local captivity.

In John 5:28-29 we read, “All that are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth.” This too here, cannot refer to a literal release from prison at the first advent because John the Baptist was not released. Jesus did not deliver death’s prisoners at the first advent.

The death state is a condition properly pictured by a prison, which of course represents bondage or restraint of our life, rights and privileges. Our Heavenly Father Himself tells us that the death sentence meant a returning unto the dust – a going into oblivion. (Genesis 3:19.)

In Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10 we read, the “dead know not anything” that “their love also, and their hatred and their envy is perished,” that “there is neither work nor device, nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.”

The Psalmist says that “He returneth to his earth: in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psalm 146:4.)

PRISONERS

Seeing what the prison is we can certainly appreciate who the prisoners are – the whole human family – “All in Adam die.” “Death has passed on all.”

PRISON KEEPER

Satan has opposed the best interests of the human family from Adam’s fall. Our Lord Jesus, calls him “the Prince of this World” (John 14:30), while the Apostle Paul similarly calls him “the God of this World.” (2 Colossians 4:4)

In Matthew 12:29, our Lord Jesus again refers to him in a little parable saying, “How can one enter into a strong man’s house and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.”

The cause of Satan’s opposing attitude is declared to be PRIDE and the desire to be EQUAL TO or ABOVE GOD YAHWEH,  as we read in these next scriptures where the Prophet Isaiah in chapter 14 and verses 13 to 17:-

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High (YAHWEH). Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee and consider thee, saying, ‘is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake the kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?’ ”

Satan has not liberated any of his prisoners because he has not the power over death. That work is appointed to the Great Deliverer: our beloved King, Jesus Christ.

At the first of Jesus’ ministry, we read of Him, in Luke 14:

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

22 And all spoke well of him and marvelled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth.”

Then and there began in a public way, the carrying out of this glorious prophecy. The fulfillment of it all was invested in our Lord Jesus.

A question may arise in our minds from Isaiah 49: 24 – “Shall the prey (the human family) be taken from the mighty (Satan & his ‘army’) or the lawful captive be set free?”

How can the human family (“lawful captives”) ever be set free? That is, how can GOD continue to be just and ever be the justifier of anybody?

On examination we find that the sentence of death upon Adam was thoroughly lawful and just and right because Adam had the ability to resist the temptation and was forewarned and was not deceived.

Some may say…

O.K… I see easily enough how Adam got into prison and how that it was right with him, but I don’t understand then why was the WHOLE HUMAN FAMILY affected by ONE man’s fall and disobedience?

Well, the answer to this is a simple one but oh, so very painful in the results/consequences which we ALL now have experienced for nearly 6000 years in the ‘Permission of Evil’ period of time, thus far!

If Adam was placed in prison and had no posterity at the time of his imprisonment and if he ever had any children, since he has never been liberated, it necessarily follows that they must have been born in prison. That is why Apostle Paul in Romans 5:12, 18, 19 says,

“12 By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

“18 By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.”

19“By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.”

So we see that the prey” cannot liberate themselves from the mighty power of death for they are ALL in prison, and who can release himself and let the others out?

“None can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalm 49:7.)

But
WHEN MAN CAN DO NOTHING,
that is when
GOD YAHWEH
CAN DO SOMETHING!!!

When all seems LOST…. Then GOD HAS the ability to change it all from IMPOSSIBLE to POSSIBLE!!!

Our Heavenly Father brought salvation to the sighing and groaning prisoners and our Father’s  determination to carry out this feature of HIS plan is expressed by the Prophet Hosea:

I will ransom them from the power of the grave: I will redeem them from death: 0, death, I will be thy plagues: O, grave. I will be thy destruction, repentance shall be hid from my eyes.” (Hosea 13:14)

In pursuance of this intention GOD sent forth His own Son into the world to die and redeem many.

The opening of the prison house refers to the RESURRECTION OF EVERY SINGLE HUMAN from the grave. The first to have resurrected in the 1st Resurrection is our Lord Jesus, and we read in 1 Corinthians 15: 20-22,

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive.”

Jesus says, “I have the keys of death.” (Rev. 1:18)

Christ is to deliver ALL death’s prisoners. He did not do so at his first advent, but will in due time set at liberty all the captives, opening the prison doors of hades (the tomb). They will all come forth to trial—not on Adam’s sin, nor on account of things done while under the Adamic penalty, but to a new trial for life on their own responsibility during the PERFECT earthly conditions given on earth during the (near approaching) Kingdom of GOD, where Jesus with his 144,000 Elect ‘Bride’ members shall reign with him for 1000 years when all shall learn to choose RIGHTEOUSNESS to gain life eternal.

Those who choose to persist in ungodliness, shall be destroyed with ‘second death’ yet if “God’s love is better than life” (Psalm 63:3) then it will seem unlikely to most to choose to not obey the only GODly standard that GOD accepts, which is RIGHTEOUSNESS IN ALL THINGS.

“We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor (in order) that he might taste death for EVERY man.” (Heb. 2:9)

If Lord has already done this then WHY has not the prison been opened wide and everyone delivered from the bondage of death?

Ah! Well, we learn that the prisoners are not going to be liberated without order, but that the Divine arrangement is to liberate those during the Gospel Age who desire to have freedom, who are “weary and heavy laden” (Matthew 11:28), and that these shall be taught of YAHWEH’s plans and purposes IN ADVANCE by a normal training, as it were, and prepared to act as teachers for the balance of mankind.

So the Gospel and Good News message of the Kingdom is in two parts: Of restitution, resurrection, as well as the great prize of the high calling.

“Unlike John the Baptist,
it is not the duty of the Lord’s people to go through the world rebuking sin,
but preaching the Gospel
(Reprints of the Original Watchtower, R.3326:2)

Psalm 25:9 says that GOD will guide in justice the MEEK, and the MEEK HE will teach His way. These, who seek to do GOD’s will, in order to do what is RIGHT by Divine Standards, are meek enough to receive instruction from God’s Divine Word – then meditate upon it – and pray. GOD sees that such persons are not satisfied with the things of this world. He guides their understanding.

Jesus’ teachings are only for the meek. They are “Lovers of righteousness.”

The truths of the new dispensation belong to the Christian first – they will be for the world later. The proud, arrogant, hard-hearted, profane, rebellious, or indifferent will not hear them. Therefore, if the person you speak with is not meek, it is timely to draw away. Do not antagonize him or her, or debate (Expanded Biblical Comments).

We are authorized to do the work of a good physician, to bind up the broken hearted!

Dear friends, if we have consecrated our lives, and FULLY ENROLLED IN THE SCHOOL OF OUR MASTER AND KING, our Beloved Jesus Christ, then we are NOW to study and practice wherever the opportunity permits, how to be HEALERS of OTHERS EMOTIONS.

Will we do this perfectly? Of course not! We are in imperfect bodies. But we should be, as the High Priests who wore the robe with the pomegranates alternating with bells around the rim of their robes. Pomegranates are known to have so many healing properties, from rejuvenating the skin to healing disease.

Those who have taken the vow of following Jesus, the Greatest Human healer that ever lived, must know how to be a patient first and then learn from the text book given by our Heavenly Father. We must also have practical lessons now, applying the theory, for thorough learning, in order to be prepared to bless the world.

This glorious happy day of Great Rejoicing that the world has not seen, IS COMING!

May this HOPE we have in the Precious Promises, makes us REJOICE as if it, this glad morn of the Messianic Age, were already here!

The broken hearts we find around us today, or may have caused in others in our ignorance at the time, need to be touched with the application of the healing balm of grace and truth. Let our touches be gentle ones.

If more breaking of the heart is necessary it is not for us to do. (R4131:2)

The message of the Lord’s lips at the present time are not arrows (Psalm 45:5), nor the sword – but an invitation to rest (Matthew 11:28-30).

Our mission is not to break hearts,
but to heal broken ones
delivering a message of DIVINE MERCY;
that the Kingdom will bring order, peace and joy. (R5449:1)

Sin breaks the hearts of thousands – through man’s disappointment in himself, his own ambitions, efforts, friends, business and pleasure. The Church’s special work in blessing and comforting the world will be in the Kingdom (R5537:1).

When this great work shall have been accomplished in us, ONLY THEN, shall the prison gates be opened for the world. They shall be brought forth “to their former estate” “unto the judgment resurrection,” to walk upon the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35) if they are appreciative of GOD YAHWEH’s grace bestowed upon them. Then he that leadeth into captivity (Satan) shall have gone into captivity and the blessed and holy influence of the glorified Christ shall be exercised to healing all the disease and blindness incurred by the long captivity.

There’s a wideness in GOD’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Though severe His judgments be.
For the love of GOD is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

Acknowledgments: The content for this post was inspired from a 1909 Bible Student Convention Report- Synopsis of a Discourse by Pilgrim Brother F. H. Robison.

References: Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence; The Expanded Biblical Comments.   http://www.htdb8.com

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